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Alternative off-peak hot water tariff trial

This trial began in 2012 and operated until October 2015. It tested ways to reduce electricity demand during peak times for hot water systems in areas where off-peak or economy tariffs were not practical.

Economy tariffs 31 and 33 provide options for customers to connect appliances like hot water systems and pools to a lower rate than tariff 11. About two thirds of our residential customers have at least one appliance on an economy tariff.

However, some premises are not suitable to connect appliances to economy tariffs due to lack of a dedicated circuit, meter box or switchboard constraints.  Residential unit blocks are often unable to connect to off peak tariffs for this reason.

So we ran a trial in Townsville where residential customers (mainly unit blocks and apartments) participated in a three year trial. Their hot water system stayed connected to tariff 11 but was turned off at times similar to tariff 33. A device called a load control receiver was connected to the hot water system. It received and activated the tariff 33 audio frequency load control (AFLC) signals.

This trial was a success for customers not reporting any issue with hot water supply, and the incentive payment was considered suitable. Options to expand the program to customers in a similar situation are being considered.